With a 39-35 lead midway through the second half, the Georgetown women’s basketball team threatened to dethrone No. 2 Notre Dame, stop its 35-game home win streak and disappoint the sellout crowd of 11,418 at the Joyce Center in South Bend. But the Fighting Irish were able to overcome senior guard Katie Smrcka-Duffy’s team-high 19 points to defeat the Hoyas, 65-53 on the Fighting Irish’s senior day.

Following an emotional pre-game ceremony for its seniors, Notre Dame came out cold offensively, hitting only one of its first nine shots of the half. But Georgetown didn’t shoot much better, connecting on two of its first 10 shots. At the 16:39 mark, the Hoyas held a shaky 4-3 lead after two early baskets from freshman forward Rebekkah Brunson.

A three-pointer from seldom-used sophomore guard Joi Irby gave Georgetown back the lead, 7-6, but Notre Dame’s Ruth Riley responded with another jumper for the Irish.

After Brunson made a layup to give the Hoyas an 11-10 lead with 10:40 remaining, they would not relinquish the lead for more than four minutes. Brunson went on a tear, scoring eight of Georgetown’s nine points in that run as it took an 18-14 advantage with seven minutes on the clock. Later, Smrcka-Duffy converted on a three-point play to give her team the 21-20 lead.

However, Alicia Ratay connected on a jumper and then a three-pointer to give the Irish a 25-21 lead with 2:23 in the half. A three-pointer from senior guard Dani Ilic and then two Smrcka-Duffy foul shots helped keep the Hoyas close as they were only down 29-26 at halftime.

The Hoyas capitalized on the Irish’s mistakes, scoring 12 points off turnovers.

Riley and Niele Ivey each hit shots to open up Notre Dame’s lead to seven, 33-26, in the opening minutes of the second half. But Georgetown pulled off a 13-2 run that covered more than six minutes. Smrkca-Duffy started the run with two jumpers, followed by shots from senior forward Nathalie Bourdereau and Ilic. After two Smrcka-Duffy free throws, Ilic hit her second three-pointer of the day to give the Hoyas a 39-35 lead with 12:46 remaining.

The lead was short-lived as Ivey responded with a three of her own two seconds later. Sophomore forward Zsuzanna Horvath hit a basket to extend Georgetown’s lead to 41-38 but then Notre Dame came back.

The Irish scored seven unanswered points to give them a 45-41 advantage, with Riley scoring four of them. The Hoyas held on as junior guard Lesley Walker’s three-pointer shaved the lead to one. As Notre Dame tried to extend its lead, Georgetown refused to let the Irish blow the game open, managing to close the gap to three points on two occasions.

But after a Horvath jumper made it 54-50 with 5:08 in the clock, the Irish went on a 10-1 run to close the door. Good free throw shooting along with layups from Ivey and Kelley Siemon helped extend their lead to 64-51.

Ilic finished with 10 points, while Brunson was held scoreless for the second half after racking up 12 in the first. For the game, the Hoyas shot a paltry 31.6 percent against the second-best defense in the conference. The 12-point victory was the lowest win margin for Notre Dame, who was led by Player of the Year candidate Riley’s 21 points.

Georgetown returns to McDonough Gymnasium on Tuesday for its Senior Day, as it faces off against No. 11 Rutgers, the team that gave Notre Dame its only loss of the season.

Related Links

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